Monthly Archives: February 2010

Feb. 9: Catholic Sisters on Oprah

I just heard from the Al Kresta show that a few of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist will be featured on Oprah’s national talk show on Tuesday, February 9. This group of sisters has been growing by leaps and bounds since its foundation 13 years ago. Their mother house is in Ann Arbor, MI and they have opened schools in other dioceses. Oprah’s crew went to the mother house and did some filming which will be show during the program. Right now, the group includes 98 sisters and at the helm is Mother Assumpta Long, OP. I am sure the conversation will be interesting, so I’d encourage you to tune in.

Chaff and Fire

I came across a reference to chaff being burning in the Bible in Exodus 15:7 and I thought,
“Hey, why does the Bible always mention chaff and fire at the same time?”

Here are some examples:
…you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. (Exo 15:7 ESV)
Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble… (Isa 5:24 ESV)
You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. (Isa 33:11 ESV)
Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them… (Isa 47:14 ESV)
…like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble… (Joe 2:5 ESV)
The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them… (Oba 1:18 ESV)
they are consumed like stubble fully dried. (Nah 1:10 ESV)
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. (Mal 4:1 ESV)
…but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire (Mat 3:12 ESV)
…but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Luk 3:17 ESV)

Chaff is the leftovers of the wheat stalk when the edible grain has been removed by the process of threshing and winnowing. Chaff is also sometimes called “stubble.” In Hebrew, there are actually two words, one for chaff (?????), the little inedible fuzzies at the top of the stalk and one for stubble (???), the long stick-like part of the stalk. Apparently, it was a normal part of Israelite agriculture to burn the chaff after the winnowing process was complete. And it seems that the burning pile of chaff was a rather impressive show since it impressed itself on the Hebrew imagination so thoroughly as to serve as a good metaphor for God’s judgment. I got curious, and of course, looked it up on YouTube. I found a burning field of wheat stubble–slightly different than flaming piles of chaff. Take a look, if you like:

Copyright Showdown in Federal Court

I’ve been thinking (as has everyone else) that we need a copyright law reform in the US. Copyright law has not been touched by Congress since 1998 and things have changed a bit since then. Right now, there is a showdown between Google and several publishers over the Google Books service. Friend of the court briefs and such were all due January 28, 2010 and the federal court (Judge Danny Chin in Manhattan) is scheduled to hear arguments on February 18. Google is hoping to settle with the publishers on a class action basis which would allow them to electronically reproduce up to 20% of a book online in Google Books and allow them to post “orphan” books. Orphan books are technically under copyright, but have no copyright owner (since the author is deceased and the publisher has gone out of business). Google is gaga over orphan books because it sees them as tons of free exclusive online content. Reproducing these books online would let them post ads next to them and rake in cash on clicks.

A bunch of people have weighed in on the grandiose case since it affects pretty much everyone who either reads or writes. There is tons to read on the case. Here are the places to look:

A lot of folks are terrified that this big Google settlement will kill creativity by making it unprofitable (this is from the writer side of things). A lot of other people are scared that the settlement will force all electronic content to be constantly “metered” so that every book is “licensed” to you as you pay for it page-by-page. Google is frightened because if they lose, they could be liable for up to $3.6 trillion in copyright infringement! There is a lot at stake in this settlement and I must say that I hope Congress will weigh in at some point soon and do a copyright law overhaul. Don’t hold your breath.